CD8+ T-cell memory phenotype and function are acquired after antigen-driven activation. Memory-like cells may also arise in absence of antigenic exposure in the thymus or in the periphery. Eomesodermin (Eomes) is a key transcription factor for the development of these unconventional memory cells. Herein, we show that type I interferon signalling in CD8+ T cells directly activates Eomes gene expression. Consistent with this observation, the phenotype, function and age-dependent expansion of ‘virtual memory' CD8+ T cells are strongly affected in absence of type I interferon signalling. In addition, type I interferons induce a sustained expansion of ‘virtual memory' CD8+ T cells in an Eomes-dependent fashion. We further show that the development of ‘innate thymic' CD8+ T cells is dependent on the same pathway. In conclusion, we demonstrate that type I interferon signalling in CD8+ T cells drives Eomes expression and thereby regulates the function and homeostasis of memory-like CD8+ T cells.
Eomesodermin is the key transcription factor for the development of ‘virtual memory' T cells that develop in the absence of antigen-driven activation. Here the authors show that type I interferons directly activate eomesodermin and contribute to the homeostasis of virtual memory CD8+ T cells.
Recently, regulatory T (Treg) cells have gained interest in the fields of immunopathology, transplantation and oncoimmunology. Here, we investigated the microRNA expression profile of human natural CD8+CD25+ Treg cells and the impact of microRNAs on molecules associated with immune regulation.
We purified human natural CD8+ Treg cells and assessed the expression of FOXP3 and CTLA-4 by flow cytometry. We have also tested the ex vivo suppressive capacity of these cells in mixed leukocyte reactions. Using TaqMan low-density arrays and microRNA qPCR for validation, we could identify a microRNA ‘signature’ for CD8+CD25+FOXP3+CTLA-4+ natural Treg cells. We used the ‘TargetScan’ and ‘miRBase’ bioinformatics programs to identify potential target sites for these microRNAs in the 3′-UTR of important Treg cell-associated genes.
The human CD8+CD25+ natural Treg cell microRNA signature includes 10 differentially expressed microRNAs. We demonstrated an impact of this signature on Treg cell biology by showing specific regulation of FOXP3, CTLA-4 and GARP gene expression by microRNA using site-directed mutagenesis and a dual-luciferase reporter assay. Furthermore, we used microRNA transduction experiments to demonstrate that these microRNAs impacted their target genes in human primary Treg cells ex vivo.
We are examining the biological relevance of this ‘signature’ by studying its impact on other important Treg cell-associated genes. These efforts could result in a better understanding of the regulation of Treg cell function and might reveal new targets for immunotherapy in immune disorders and cancer.
Regulatory T cells; microRNA; FOXP3; CTLA-4; GARP; CD8
Tristetraprolin deficiency results in enhanced IL-23 via dysregulated mRNA decay that leads to an inflammatory syndrome characterized by cachexia, myeloid hyperplasia, dermatitis, and erosive arthritis.
Interleukin (IL) 12 and IL23 are two related heterodimeric cytokines produced by antigen-presenting cells. The balance between these two cytokines plays a crucial role in the control of Th1/Th17 responses and autoimmune inflammation. Most studies focused on their transcriptional regulation. Herein, we explored the role of the adenine and uridine–rich element (ARE)–binding protein tristetraprolin (TTP) in influencing mRNA stability of IL12p35, IL12/23p40, and IL23p19 subunits. LPS-stimulated bone marrow–derived dendritic cells (BMDCs) from TTP−/− mice produced normal levels of IL12/23p40. Production of IL12p70 was modestly increased in these conditions. In contrast, we observed a strong impact of TTP on IL23 production and IL23p19 mRNA stability through several AREs in the 3′ untranslated region. TTP−/− mice spontaneously develop an inflammatory syndrome characterized by cachexia, myeloid hyperplasia, dermatitis, and erosive arthritis. We observed IL23p19 expression within skin lesions associated with exacerbated IL17A and IL22 production by infiltrating γδ T cells and draining lymph node CD4 T cells. We demonstrate that the clinical and immunological parameters associated with TTP deficiency were completely dependent on the IL23–IL17A axis. We conclude that tight control of IL23 mRNA stability by TTP is critical to avoid severe inflammation.
The classical view of the Th1/Th2 paradigm posits that the pathogen nature, infectious cycle, and persistence represent key parameters controlling the choice of effector mechanisms operating during an immune response. Thus, efficient Th1 responses are triggered by replicating intracellular pathogens, while Th2 responses would control helminth infection and promote tissue repair during the resolution phase of an infectious event. However, this vision does not account for a growing body of data describing how pathogens exploit the polarization of the host immune response to their own benefit. Recently, the study of macrophages has illustrated a novel aspect of this arm race between pathogens and the immune system, and the central role of macrophages in homeostasis, repair and defense of all tissues is now fully appreciated. Like T lymphocytes, macrophages differentiate into distinct effectors including classically (M1) and alternatively (M2) activated macrophages. Interestingly, in addition to represent immune effectors, M1/M2 cells have been shown to represent potential reservoir cells to a wide range of intracellular pathogens. Subversion of macrophage cell metabolism by microbes appears as a recently uncovered immune escape strategy. Upon infection, several microbial agents have been shown to activate host metabolic pathways leading to the production of nutrients necessary to their long-term persistence in host. The purpose of this review is to summarize and discuss the strategies employed by pathogens to manipulate macrophage differentiation, and in particular their basic cell metabolism, to favor their own growth while avoiding immune control.
macrophage polarization; metabolic switch; amino acid metabolism; hypoxia; iron; PPARs; infection; immune escape strategy
Follicular T helper cells (Tfh) are crucial for effective antibody responses and long term T cell-dependent humoral immunity. Although many studies are devoted to this novel T helper cell population, the molecular mechanisms governing Tfh cell differentiation have yet to be characterized. MyoR/ABF-1 is a basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor that plays a role in the differentiation of the skeletal muscle and Hodgkin lymphoma. Here we show that MyoR mRNA is progressively induced during the course of Tfh-like cell differentiation in vitro and is expressed in Tfh responding to Alum-precipitated antigens in vivo. This expression pattern suggests that MyoR could play a role in the differentiation and/or function of Tfh cells. We tested this hypothesis using MyoR-deficient mice and found this deficiency had no impact on Tfh differentiation. Hence, MyoR-deficient mice developed optimal T-dependent humoral responses to Alum-precipitated antigens. In conclusion, MyoR is a transcription factor selectively up-regulated in CD4 T cells during Tfh cell differentiation in vitro and upon response to alum-protein vaccines in vivo, but the functional significance of this up-regulation remains uncertain.
Primary graft dysfunction (PGD) and bronchiolitis obliterans (BO) are the leading causes of morbidity and mortality after lung transplantation. Reports from clinical and rodent models suggest the implication of IL-17A in either PGD or BO. We took advantage of the heterotopic trachea transplantation model in mice to study the direct role of IL-17A in post-transplant airway lesions. Across full MHC barrier, early lesions were controlled in IL-17A-/- or anti-IL17 treated recipients. In contrast, IL-17A deficiency did not prevent subsequent obliterative airway disease (OAD). Interestingly, this early protection occurred also in syngeneic grafts and was accompanied by a decrease in cellular stress, as attested by lower HSP70 mRNA levels, suggesting the involvement of IL-17A in ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). Furthermore, persistence of multipotent CK14+ epithelial stem cells underlined allograft protection afforded by IL-17A deficiency or neutralisation. Recipient-derived γδ+ and CD4+ T cells were the major source of IL-17A. However, lesions still occurred in the absence of each subset, suggesting a high redundancy between the innate and adaptive IL-17A producing cells. Notably, a double depletion significantly diminished lesions. In conclusion, this work implicated IL-17A as mediator of early post-transplant airway lesions and could be considered as a potential therapeutic target in clinical transplantation.
The generation of high-affinity antibodies and the development of B cell memory are dependent on the help provided by CD4 T cells. Mouse studies indicate that STAT3 signaling in CD4 T cells promotes the acquisition of the B cell help function. However, the role of STAT3 in humans has been controversial. In this study, we show that IL-6 and other STAT3 activating cytokines (IL-21 and IL-27) induce the differentiation of CD4 T cells promoting antibody production by B cells. The acquisition of B cell stimulating properties by naive cord blood CD4 T cells required the STAT3-dependent expression of ICOS and IL-21. Gene reporter and ChIP experiments unambiguously demonstrated that upon IL-6 stimulation, STAT3 induces the transcription of the ICOS gene through direct recruitment to the proximal promoter region indicating that STAT3 acts in part through the direct activation of the ICOS gene.
Uncontrolled TNF-α synthesis is known to play an important role in numerous inflammatory disorders, and multiple transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory mechanisms have therefore evolved to dampen the production of this important pro-inflammatory cytokine. By examining the anti-inflammatory properties of the vitamin B3 constituent nicotinamide, we have uncovered a novel regulatory pathway controlling TNF-α production. Exogenous nicotinamide inhibits TNF-α secretion through modulation of mRNA translation efficiency. Moreover, the capacity to produce TNF-α appears to be directly correlated with intracellular NAD levels, suggesting that a NAD-dependent biological event that can be inhibited by nicotinamide controls TNF-α synthesis in cells of the immune system. Sirtuins represent NAD-dependent deacetylases involved in regulation of gene expression in both mammals and yeasts, and are known to be inhibited by nicotinamide. We demonstrate herein that similarly to nicotinamide, structurally unrelated sirtuin inhibitors downregulate TNF-α secretion with minimal effect on TNF-α gene transcription. By over-expressing individual sirtuin members in cell lines transiently expressing TNF-α, we have identified SIRT6 as a sirtuin member able to upregulate TNF-α synthesis in vitro. In agreement with this finding, bone-marrow derived dendritic cells from SIRT6 KO mice display reduced TNF-α synthesis in response to CpG. Collectively, these data delineate a novel relationship between metabolism and the inflammatory response, by uncovering the role of SIRT6 in the control of TNF-α secretion.
Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT), also known as visfatin, is the rate-limiting enzyme in the salvage pathway of NAD biosynthesis from nicotinamide. Since its expression is upregulated during inflammation, NAMPT represents a novel clinical biomarker in acute lung injury, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn's disease. However, its role in disease progression remains unknown. We report here that NAMPT is a key player in inflammatory arthritis. Increased expression of NAMPT was confirmed in mice with collagen-induced arthritis, both in serum and in the arthritic paw. Importantly, a specific competitive inhibitor of NAMPT effectively reduced arthritis severity with comparable activity to etanercept, and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion in affected joints. Moreover, NAMPT inhibition reduced intracellular NAD concentration in inflammatory cells and circulating TNFα levels during endotoxemia in mice. In vitro pharmacological inhibition of NAMPT reduced the intracellular concentration of NAD and pro-inflammatory cytokine secretion by inflammatory cells. Thus, NAMPT links NAD metabolism to inflammatory cytokine secretion by leukocytes, and its inhibition might therefore have therapeutic efficacy in immune-mediated inflammatory disorders.
Although STAT5 promotes survival of hematopoietic progenitors, STAT5−/− mice develop mild neutrophilia.
Here, we show that in STAT5−/− mice, liver endothelial cells (LECs) autonomously secrete high amounts of G-CSF, allowing myeloid progenitors to overcompensate for their intrinsic survival defect. However, when injected with pro-inflammatory cytokines, mutant mice cannot further increase neutrophil production, display a severe deficiency in peripheral neutrophil survival, and are therefore unable to maintain neutrophil homeostasis. In wild-type mice, inflammatory stimulation induces rapid STAT5 degradation in LECs, G-CSF production by LECs and other cell types, and then sustained mobilization and expansion of long-lived neutrophils.
We conclude that STAT5 is an ambivalent factor. In cells of the granulocytic lineage, it exerts an antiapoptotic function that is required for maintenance of neutrophil homeostasis, especially during the inflammatory response. In LECs, STAT5 negatively regulates granulopoiesis by directly or indirectly repressing G-CSF expression. Removal of this STAT5-imposed brake contributes to induction of emergency granulopoiesis.
The Helicase-Like Transcription Factor (HLTF/SMARCA3) belongs to the family of SWI/SNF proteins that use the energy of ATP hydrolysis to remodel chromatin in a variety of cellular processes. Several SWI/SNF genes are disrupted in cancer, suggesting a role of tumor suppressor. Similarly, the HLTF gene was recently found to be inactivated by hypermethylation in a number of advanced colon and gastric tumors. However, other evidences indicated a 20-fold HLTF overexpression in cell lines derived from various neoplasms (ovary, breast, cervix, kidney...).
In the present study, we investigated HLTF expression by immunohistochemistry in a model of kidney tumors induced by continuous administration of diethylstilbestrol to male Syrian golden hamsters. A strong labeling was already detected in small tumor buds, making HLTF an early cancer marker in this model. Although every cell stained for HLTF at this early stage, the number of HLTF-positive cells decreased to 10% with cancer progression, and these positive cells were dispersed in the tumor mass. HLTF expression was conserved in the HKT-1097 cell line established from kidney tumors, but again only 10% of positive cells were found in xenografts produced by HKT-1097 cells in nude mice.
In conclusion, our data suggest that HLTF gene activation is linked to initial steps of carcinogenesis in this model and should be investigated in early stages of other neoplasms.
The usual agent of visceral leishmaniasis in the Old World is Leishmania donovani, which typically produces systemic diseases in humans and mice. L. donovani has developed efficient strategies to infect and persist in macrophages from spleen and liver. Dendritic cells (DC) are sentinels of the immune system. Following recognition of evolutionary conserved microbial products, DC undergo a maturation process and activate antigen-specific naïve T cells. In the present report we provide new insights into how DC detect Leishmania in vivo. We demonstrate that in both C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice, systemic injection of L. donovani induced the migration of splenic DC from marginal zones to T-cell areas. During migration, DC upregulated the expression of major histocompatibility complex II and costimulatory receptors (such as CD40, CD80, and CD86). Leishmania-induced maturation requires live parasites and is not restricted to L. donovani, as L. braziliensis, L. major, and L. mexicana induced a similar process. Using a green fluorescent protein-expressing parasite, we demonstrate that DC undergoing maturation in vivo display no parasite internalization. We also show that L. donovani-induced DC maturation was partially abolished in MyD88-deficient mice. Taken together, our data suggest that Leishmania-induced DC maturation results from direct recognition of Leishmania by DC, and not from DC infection, and that MyD88-dependent receptors are implicated in this process.
Recent evidence suggests that in addition to their well known stimulatory properties, dendritic cells (DCs) may play a major role in peripheral tolerance. It is still unclear whether a distinct subtype or activation status of DC exists that promotes the differentiation of suppressor rather than effector T cells from naive precursors. In this work, we tested whether the naturally occurring CD4+ CD25+ regulatory T cells (Treg) may control immune responses induced by DCs in vivo. We characterized the immune response induced by adoptive transfer of antigen-pulsed mature DCs into mice depleted or not of CD25+ cells. We found that the development of major histocompatibility complex class I and II–restricted interferon γ–producing cells was consistently enhanced in the absence of Treg. By contrast, T helper cell (Th)2 priming was down-regulated in the same conditions. This regulation was independent of interleukin 10 production by DCs. Of note, splenic DCs incubated in vitro with Toll-like receptor ligands (lipopolysaccharide or CpG) activated immune responses that remained sensitive to Treg function. Our data further show that mature DCs induced higher cytotoxic activity in CD25-depleted recipients as compared with untreated hosts. We conclude that Treg naturally exert a negative feedback mechanism on Th1-type responses induced by mature DCs in vivo.
primary response; T helper cell type 1/type 2 balance; regulation; inflammation; Toll-like receptors
Cells of the dendritic cell (DC) lineage, by their unique ability to stimulate naive T cells, may be of crucial importance in the development of protective immune responses to Leishmania parasites. The aim of this study was to compare the impact of L. major infection on DCs in BALB/c (susceptible, developing Th2 responses), C57BL/6 (resistant, developing Th1 responses), and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)−/− C57BL/6 mice (susceptible, developing delayed and reduced Th1 responses). We analyzed by immunohistochemistry the phenotype of infected cells in vivo. Granulocytes (GR1+) and macrophages (CD11b+) appear as the mainly infected cells in primary lesions. In contrast, cells expressing CD11c, a DC specific marker, are the most frequently infected cells in draining lymph nodes of all mice tested. These infected CD11c+ cells harbored a particular morphology and cell surface phenotype in infected C57BL/6 and BALB/c mice. CD11c+ infected cells from C57BL/6 and TNF−/− C57BL/6 mice displayed a weak parasitic load and a dendritic morphology and frequently expressed CD11b or F4/80 myeloid differentiation markers. In contrast, some CD11c+ infected cells from BALB/c mice were multinucleated giant cells. Giant cells presented a dramatic accumulation of parasites and differentiation markers were not detectable at their surface. In all mice, lymph node CD11c+ infected cells expressed a low major histocompatibility complex II level and no detectable CD86 expression. Our results suggest that infected CD11c+ DC-like cells might constitute a reservoir of parasites in lymph nodes.
Glucocorticoids (GCs) affect peripheral immune responses by inhibiting T cell immunity at several stages of the activation cascade, causing impaired cytokine production and effector function. The recent demonstration that the thymic epithelium and possibly thymocytes themselves produce steroids suggests that endogenous GCs also play a role in the control of T cell development. As both peripheral responsiveness and thymic differentiation appear to be regulated by the quantity and quality of intracellular signals issued by antigen–major histocompatibility complex-engaged T cell receptor (TCR) complexes, we investigated the effects of GCs on the signaling properties of T cells stimulated by anti-CD3 monoclonal antibodies or agonist peptides. We demonstrate in this work that dexamethasone, a synthetic GC, inhibits the early signaling events initiated upon TCR ligation, such as tyrosine phosphorylation of several TCR-associated substrates including the ζ chain, the ZAP70 kinase, and the transmembrane adapter molecule linker for activation of T cells. Hypophosphorylation was not a consequence of reduced kinase activity of src protein tyrosine kinases, but was correlated with an altered- membrane compartmentalization of these molecules. These observations indicate that in addition to their well-described ability to interfere with the transcription of molecules involved in peripheral responses, GCs inhibit T cell activation by affecting the early phosphorylating events induced after TCR ligation.
T lymphocyte; signal transduction; tyrosine kinases; membrane rafts; glycosphingolipid-enriched microdomains
Cells of the dendritic family display some unique properties that confer to them the capacity to sensitize naive T cells in vitro and in vivo. In the mouse, two subclasses of dendritic cells (DCs) have been described that differ by their CD8α expression and their localization in lymphoid organs. The physiologic function of both cell populations remains obscure. Studies conducted in vitro have suggested that CD8α+ DCs could play a role in the regulation of immune responses, whereas conventional CD8α− DCs would be more stimulatory. We report here that both subclasses of DCs efficiently prime antigen-specific T cells in vivo, and direct the development of distinct T helper (Th) populations. Antigen-pulsed CD8α+ and CD8α− DCs are separated after overnight culture in recombinant granulocyte/macrophage colony-stimulating factor and injected into the footpads of syngeneic mice. Administration of CD8α− DCs induces a Th2-type response, whereas injection of CD8α+ DCs leads to Th1 differentiation. We further show that interleukin 12 plays a critical role in Th1 development by CD8α+ DCs. These findings suggest that the nature of the DC that presents the antigen to naive T cells may dictate the class selection of the adaptative immune response.
primary response; T helper cell type 1/type 2 balance; interleukin 12; tolerance; memory
The activation of a predominant T-helper-cell subset plays a critical role in disease resolution. In the case of Toxoplasma gondii, the available evidence indicates that CD4+ protective cells belong to the Th1 subset. The aim of this study was to determine whether T. gondii antigens (in T. gondii sonicate [TSo]) presented by splenic dendritic cells (DC) were able to induce a specific immune response in vivo and to protect CBA/J mice orally challenged with T. gondii cysts. CBA/J mice immunized with TSo-pulsed DC exhibited significantly fewer cysts in their brains after oral infection with T. gondii 76K than control mice did. Protected mice developed a strong humoral response in vivo, with especially high levels of anti-TSo immunoglobulin G2a antibodies in serum. T. gondii antigens such as SAG1 (surface protein), SAG2 (surface protein), MIC1 (microneme protein), ROP2 through ROP4 (rhoptry proteins), and MIC2 (microneme protein) were recognized predominantly. Furthermore, DC loaded with TSo, which synthesized high levels of interleukin-12 (IL-12), triggered a strong cellular response in vivo, as assessed by the proliferation of lymph node cells in response to TSo restimulation in vitro. Cellular proliferation was associated with gamma interferon and IL-2 production. Taken together, these results indicate that immunization of CBA/J mice with TSo-pulsed DC can induce both humoral and Th1-like cellular immune responses and affords partial resistance against the establishment of chronic toxoplasmosis.